The launch of the Trail

This section covers Main Street from after Well Green through to Drumbeg Loan.

On the right side of the road are the first council houses built in the village. They were completed in 1935 and replaced a row of late 18th-century cottages that were considered beyond repair. Because of their condition, the Killearn Trust rejected the opportunity to restore them. A further eight council houses were built opposite the Co-op in 1938.

Black and white photos of bunting on the mainstreet townfoot in Killearn
The first Council houses built in Killearn were completed in 1935, next to Well Green.

The hedge on the left-hand side of the road after Townfoot cottage shields Machar House. It was built in 1899 by Archibald Gilfillan. He moved from London to live in the house, but died, aged 45, in 1901. His wife died in London in 1893 and their infant son in 1887. It is named after Machar Glen above Ballikinrain. Rob Roy is said to have used a rocky hole in the glen to hide in.

The building housing the Co-op shop dates from the late 19th century, and originally housed two shops. One was a butcher’s shop until quite recently and the other, now the storeroom for the Co-op, was the W. G. Morrison grocery store, who in 1902 advertised ‘goods delivered by messenger in village, and by vans in surrounding district’. Next to the building on the Well Green side there used to be stabling. The Co-op built an extension, which has been internally remodelled a number of times.

Next to the Co-op, is Camelot, a distinctive building from the mid-1960s. Across the road is the drive up to Windyknowe. Originally called Weatherlea, it was built in the mid-19th century and has been extended since then. Next to it is Cleveden, built in 1961–2, with the circular turret added in the 1990s. Cleveden was built on the croft land of Blacklands, and its first owner, John Kelly, assisted the Killearn Trust in its purchase of Blacklands.

For Lilybank, Blacklands, and Maggie Harper’s cottage (or Kirkhouse cottage), see separate entries.

Beyond Blacklands, the next entrance is to Gartaneaglais (‘the field of the church’). The land here originally was the upper and lower Kirkhouse fields, part of the glebe of the parish. The house was built in 1927–8 for Gilbert Innes, a Glasgow shipowner and founding Chairman of the Killearn Trust (1932–71). He lived here until 1972. The garden was extensively landscaped. The house has since been divided into three, named Gartaneaglais, Kirkland, and Arntemplar. These names reflect the history of the site (the Knight Templars are thought to have owned land in the vicinity).

Black and white picture of a pond that looks onto a grand White House
Gartaneaglais, Main Street, Killearn – 1931

Across the road is Kirkhouse Road. The name records the site of the original Kirkhouse, the house lived in by the minister of the Kirk. The minister moved to a new manse (now the Old Manse) in the centre of the village in the 1820s. In the 1930s, the Kirkhouse was a garage, but it has since been demolished.

On the left-hand side of the road, the 1869 aqueduct carrying the first of two water pipelines from Loch Katrine to Milngavie can be seen crossing the Kirkhouse burn. More information on the route of the pipeline through the village is at the pipetrack page on this website.

The next significant house on this side of the road is White Court, set back from the road. Originally called White Flats, it was built in 1933 for James Hogarth Pringle. He had been Surgeon to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary from 1896 to 1923. From 1899 he was also a lecturer in surgery at Queen Margaret College, the Glasgow college that provided higher education to women before Glasgow University and the Royal Infirmary admitted women for medical training. He was a renowned expert on fractures. He retired in 1923 and moved to the Borders, coming to Killearn in 1933. In a 1941 obituary note for Pringle, it was noted that one of the fireplace surrounds in White Court came from the Lister Ward in the old Royal Infirmary building (designed by Robert Adam and demolished in 1909).

White Court was built in the orchard of what is now Park House. Pringle purchased the house, then known as Achnagowan after the death of its occupants, two daughters of J. Guthrie Smith. He then reduced the size of the old house and used it as his library, for he was still an active medical researcher in his retirement.

On the opposite side of the road closer to Drumbeg Loan is the Bungalow. It was built for Sister Laura Smith. She was a nurse who joined the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in 1891 and from 1897 to 1922 was Sister-in-Charge of the Glasgow Children’s Dispensary. In 1911, jointly with a bakery, she established Sister Laura’s Infant Food Company, making a powdered supplement to be added to cows’ milk. At the time, it was the only supplement that could be made up with milk and it was cheaper than alternatives. Sister Laura ended her connection with the company in 1920 but it continued until the 1980s. She died in 1943 and is buried in the Old Kirk graveyard. More about her story can be read here.

Black and white photo of Joiners working on a house in Killearn
Joiners from Simpson’s working on ‘The Bungalow’, Main Street, Killearn

Opposite the start of Drumbeg Loan is the Branziert. This was the first modern private housing development in the village on land that was part of Lettre farm. The land was sold in 1959 by Sir Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath.

At the top of the Branziert is Shepherd’s Cottage, built on the same site and using stone from what was a ruined small house and byre, the steading of the old Branziert farm. The large white house in a traditional Scottish style, Shepherd’s Lodge, was built at the start of this century.